Overheard on CNN.com: Lottery inspires $540 million wishes, charitable dreams
Readers shared their ideas for what to do with hundreds of millions of dollars. We heard all sorts of fantasies.
March 29th, 2012
05:23 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Lottery inspires $540 million wishes, charitable dreams

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Video iReporter Matt Sky received hundreds of comments in response to a question he posed to fellow readers: What would you do with what is now a $540 million Mega Millions jackpot? The responses got quite creative.

What would you do with all that money?

Here are some of the kinds of fantasies that our readers shared.


jana21: "I would find the best medical facility in the world and have stem cell work done for my son in hopes that he would then be able to learn how to talk and maybe even walk! I would make sure that no matter how long he lived, he would have the best quality of life possible to fit his needs. I would put away for my daughters' education and set up trusts for both. I would also build more playgrounds for the disabled all across our country. Once all that is taken care of, pay off my student loans and all other debt then take classes that interested me and use my free time to volunteer."


"1) Buy a huge piece of land in the desert Southwest.
2) Build a nice home on it.
3) Build a VAST garage and complete workshop.
4) Build my own private racetrack on the land.
5) Collect a vast array of sports cars and motorcycles.
6) Spend the rest of my days trying to improve my lap times."


bgarrett4: I'd start my own TV show where people would compete for my money. A million-a-year for a prize? I could set up a long-running show called 'What Would you Do for $' lol"


DebAH: "Some very well-thought-out, hilarious and  heart warming comments. You all made my day. 🙂 As for me, like StevenB, I'd consult with a tax lawyer and accountant to get advice on the most prudent, tax-saving ways to handle [it[, put good chunk of it for myself, daughter and family members. I also plan on donating a good amount to worthy charities. I'd also use some of it to travel to foreign countries. I would definitely spend some time in Madrid so I can see my beloved Real Madrid games in person. Oh yeah, better add Spanish lessons to my bucket list. :p"


Brenna3: "I would give all of it but one million to cystic fibrosis research and then offer one million to who ever can find a cure. It is so hard to watch a 5-year-old go though so much that you can't imagine. I want her to live and breathe."


aubrie: "Pay off all my debts. Pay for all the student loans my kids got stuck with, so they can start with a clean slate, buy a lovely house on Mount Desert Island in Maine, leave Texas in the dust, and FINALLY get to travel and see places like Bora Bora, the Australian Outback, Russia, the English countryside, the Egyptian pyramids, etc. Hire a financial team, and set up numerous scholarships for deserving kids to go to school."


Koyotee474: "Pay off all my debt. Set $10 million aside for me and my daughter. Before cashing ticket, I would put it in a safety deposit box for one month and call Dr. Drew or Oprah and let them follow me with cameras to get a feeling about my friends. Then cash the ticket and let them document how horrible people get when they know you got money. I would take the rest of the money and buy houses and give one house a week away until the rest of the money is gone."


kansasjhawk: "I would move to Queenstown, New Zealand, immediately, buy ton of large format photography stuff and stock up on film."


davetharave: "I tell you one thing, there'll be an awful lot of beer around."


pokerstarr: "I would buy a really big yacht and rent a couple of pretty ladies then tour the entire world."


t0ofly: "I'd buy a large chunk of land and have a custom-designed house. Big, but not too big. I'd build a large barn and plow a big garden. I'd get plants and animals that I could raise myself and eat. Cows, pigs, chickens and even ostriches ... as weird as that may sound. I'd probably hire high school kids who wanted part time work to do the maintenance around the farm when I didn't feel like it. Maybe even try and start a business. I'd also give a lot of the money away to my friends. In a way, it would be like we all hit the lottery."


kris10scud: "I'd buy Congress, I hear they are for sale!"


JoeDaPlumbr: "I would hire a team of telemarketers to call politicians, survey companies and charities at dinner time just to say Hi."


MGood: "Divorce my wife and get back to real living. She can have half ... no problem."


disagreement: "Lotteries are a tax on the mathematically challenged."


GasBag: "First, get a nice plot. I'd be dead in six months or less."


Whatever11: "I'd Scrooge McDuck that (expletive). Swimming in gold coins = winning."

So what would you do with all that money? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Paco Rabanne (M-CO) "Just Flat-Out Insane)

    Cut the crap already!!!!!

    March 29, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Superman

    10 million to battered womens programs, 20 million to abused children programs, and the rest , 2 million to each of my 5 sisters, 20 million to each of ny 2 daughters, and the rest to me sound good? And id move to switzerland and raise horses. And also 20 million to aids research for the US . And i still a multi millionaire!!!!!!!!!! And maybe a full carbon fiber bughati, research that car please! And im happy to say ill still wear my 501s and t shirts!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. fernace

    Winning lots of $$ would be nice, but does any 1 person need that much $$!? All I want from life is to make my own way, love & be loved, be comfortable, help people along the way & die an old, wrinkled woman who lived life on my own terms! I don't need a million $$ for that!!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. Henry

    I'd keep $10 million for myself and give the rest to a variety of causes and projects that help others.

    March 30, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. emma rastelli

    I would start with putting money away for my kids education,
    pay off my bills,
    put 1/2 million into savings for my kids and myself.
    Pay my parents debt and give some to my siblings.
    My friends who helped me in hard times would get 1/2 million.
    Find the people that serve int he military who are going through hard times and help out a little.
    Both my kids know about deployments so make more awarness to helping the military child who bears more hardship than service members.
    Then the rest to charities i choose.

    March 30, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Rochester

    If I won...Vegas Baby!!! High Rollers Room.

    March 30, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. David

    To be honest, I don't know. I have money now but am unhappy, so I doubt more would improve my lot. I'd probably end up donating most of it to medical research facilities, especially ones dealing with children's health issues like cancer.

    March 30, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kitty

    I'd pay off my student loans, pay my mother's debt, fix up our house, give some to charities for both people and animals, make a donation to my alma mater to start a scholarship fund, give my coworkers $100,000 each and stash most of the rest in investments and then live off of the interest. I'd keep on working at my job but take more time off to travel and would probably buy a lot of books. And maybe buy a beach house, because I love the beach. And a pretty car to get there and back on weekends.

    March 30, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. McLarenWish

    My friends and I have a deal where we'll split it. After that I'd buy a McLaren supercar (and all the things I'd need to keep to secure it), because even though it's my last name I'd never be able to acquire one otherwise. 🙂

    Then I suspect a chunk of it would go to humane societies, because I've donated for the last several years.

    I like my job so I'd probably stick around for a while, but I'd get some interior design folks like Because We Can to fly across the country and decorate our office. 🙂

    March 30, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Roger Gentry

    I would call for a press conference and make the following statement: Before I claim this amount of money, I would like to know where all of the TAX money generated by this Lottery is going. How about changing the law and making any Federal TAX money received through the lottery system be EARMARKED for the Social Security and Medicare system. Has any one done the math and looked at the amount of money that the Government gets and they do not have to buy any ticket. Put the money where it can not be touched by Congress. Thanks for listening

    March 30, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. sanford and son

    I would buy George Zimmerman a new gold plated 45cal semi auto with extended clip.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. ironside32

    Pay off my debts, buy a large piece of land put a house in the middle of it and secure the boundary. Set up my family, give to the March of Dimes because there research and Shands in Gainesville, Florida saved my sons life when he was born. Other charities would come as I see it. Buy lots of firearms. Purchase a luxury coach and get lost for a while!!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. BD

    I'd donate to the wildlife reserve in my town because they're struggling to stay open free to the public, help friends and family members who are in debt, donate food and other basic needs to homeless shelters, and open up a trust fund for my daughter.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  14. Klompy

    disagreement: "Lotteries are a tax on the mathematically challenged."

    This guy needs to run the math himself. In general his statement is true, but with current estimates on how many people will play and the current jackpot, it's actually paying out about 1.05 for every dollar you spend.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joe T.

    I honestly don't know what I'd do with $1 million let alone $540 mil. I'm sure the $540 mil is an annuity so if I take the lump sum that's probably about $375 mil. I'm guessing taxes would take about $100-150 mil of that away. So, left with $250 mil when all is said and done. I'd give some to close friends and family. I don't think I would buy very flashy cars or a huge house. Who needs that big house anyway? Cars are a horrible investment anyway so I'd probably just drive something reasonable. I'd probably put around $10 million in a savings account. Even at 1% interest, that's an additional $1mil every year just in case. I'd probably donate half or more to a charity for wounded veterans. I think I would own my own really cool bar. Every hour would be happy hour there. Probably do a bit of traveling. Purchase season tickets for my favorite sports teams. Besides that I would probably take the Peter Gibbons approach and do nothing.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      Ten million @ 1% is $100,000. PS: Just in case you win, I'm available as a financial advisor. 😉

      March 30, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe T.

      Lol, I need to drink more coffee. I had it all figured out last night and came out with $100,000 but for some reason when I was detailing it here, I messed that up...

      You can be my financial advisor and I'll give you 10% of 100 mil. 😉

      March 30, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5